PDP accepts Reform Forum’s demands
Cover Stories Jun 5, 2010 * Reforms will affect PDP NWC, says El-Rufai
By Henry Umoru
Abuja – THE National Leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, agreed to the demands of members of the PDP Reform Forum with a promise that their proposals would be factored into the scheme of things ahead of congresses and convention leading to the 2011 elections.
The PDP said the issues raised by the Reform Forum proposal would be immediately addressed with a view to moving the party forward, noting that the demands were coming from prominent members of the party who have held very sensitive positions in the country.
Receiving documents on the proposed reforms from the Forum in his office, the PDP National Secretary, Abubakar Kawu Baraje also stressed that the era of garrison democracy, where a few members dictated to the party was over.
“After today’s (yesterday) exercise, we believe that in the next few months and before the next general election, 2011, all the points that are submitted today will be factored into our constitution and we believe that we are going to have a very transparent, honest and people oriented congresses and convention”, he said.
“Those of us who are very conversant with the whole issue of reform will note that what we have as peoples democratic party today is a complete departure from what it used to be from the garrison democracy”.
Answering questions from journalists, a member of the group and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mallam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai noted that the reforms being canvassed for the group would actually affect the NWC as currently constituted and stressed that all the group was asking for was“what all Nigerians wanted to see in the PDP.”
He said: “What the Reform Forum is suggesting and we have made our views public, is what every Nigerian wants to see in a political party. To say that the members of the party should vote in primary and elect their candidates is the only right way to elect candidates on the party platform.
“The current situation where a few people draw up a list and impose it on the rest of the membership is clearly unacceptable and unsustainable. Things have to change. If they don’t change, there will be problems within the party”.
The former Minister who noted that the group was not relying on the PDP NWC to implement the proposed reforms because the NWC members stand to lose from the reforms, said, “It is not the NWC we are relying upon. It is the National Executive Committee (NEC) that will ultimately have to make a judgment call on these reforms. The NWC stands to lose from some of the reforms”.
Present at the meeting which was chaired by the PDP National Secretary, Abubakar Kawu Baraje were the PDP National Legal Adviser, Olusola Oke and the National Woman Leader, Maryam Inna Ciroma on the side of the NWC while the Reform Forum was represented by former Minister of transport, Abiye Sekibo, ex-FCTA Minister, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Senator Sylvester Ngele; former House of Representatives member, Mercy Almona-Isei and member, House of Representatives, Linda Ikpeazu.